Rae rants: Comments on Kevin Myers article

On Kevin Myers “Cluster bombs are evil, but banning them is pointless” in the Irish Independent, 15 May 2008.
And here is a PDF version of his article in the Irish Independent: kevin-myers

Kevin Myer Independent IE

Rae’s Rant:

Opinions based on the minimum of available fact are perhaps excusable in a bar-room discussion but you are an experienced and professional journalist with the resources and responsibility to research your subject thoroughly, so your careless analysis of the cluster munitions issue was unprofessional. You began your article by raising the issue of landmines then two paragraphs later challenged your readers to name a weapon that once invented had been successfully banned. Er … landmines, actually. The 1997 treaty comprehensively banned anti-personnel mines. If you wish to check how successful it has been go to www.icbl.org/lm/2007.

The case against cluster munitions is based on two problems displayed by the weapon genre in every use since it was first widely deployed by the United States in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam during the Vietnam war. 1. The weapon is indiscriminate – this will commonly make its use illegal under exisiting international laws. 2. The post-attack and sustained post-conflict impact on civilians is disproportionate.

Your argument is based largely on the fact that weapons work – and some certainly do. However, over more than ten years of asking, I have never heard a single credible account of cluster munitions achieving any substantial military advantage and certainly nothing which could not have been better achieved by targeted unitary weapons.

Your final paragraph shows a startling ingorance of the roots of the campaign against cluster munitions. Many of those who have fought against the weapon over the past fifteen years have been those who work in the field clearing landmines and unexploded cluster submunitions, many of them former soldiers, some of them serving soldiers – the majority know conflict very well – both as soldiers and as de-miners; please don’t lecture us on the realities – far better to ask us for the facts before sitting down to write in ignorance.

Rae McGrath

2 thoughts on “Rae rants: Comments on Kevin Myers article”

  1. DUBLIN Wynnes Hotel Sunday 11th May 11am
    The CMC team are all here, planning and coordinating, sharing expertise – civil society campaigners from all over the world – together because we want to see an end to the horror caused by the use of cluster munitions over more than four decades. We have no political agenda, although undoubtedly there are political implications of a ban – especially for countries which are placing misguided military and commercial priorities ahead of humanitarian concerns. In a couple of hours the BanBus will arrive here in Dublin after a morning drive from west to east – to a big welcome from us here.
    Tomorrow the conference begins and in two weeks we will bring to culmination a ban on cluster munitions. What happens here in Dublin will save many innocent lives if we succeed.

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